MNT Opts for One-On-One Upfront Presentations, Speeds Up Reality

MyNetworkTV (MNT) has eliminated the possibility of both a formal upfront presentation to advertisers next month in New York and a return to telenovela programming on Tuesdays after the May sweeps.

MNT President Greg Meidel compared the move to scrap a formal upfront presentation, which the mini-network held last year to hype its failed all-telenovela strategy that began in September, to cable networks like Fox sibling FX foregoing splashy shows in favor of smaller, one-on-one meetings with media buyers.

“One size doesn’t fit all,” Meidel says, adding that he believes MNT’s story is better told on a personal level.

Bob Cesa, executive VP of ad sales for Twentieth TV and MNT, will lead the mini-network in individual meetings being scheduled with media buyers in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles starting the middle of next week and continuing through the upfronts.

“It’s an unconventional approach because MNT has an unconventional style,” Cesa says.

A formal upfront presentation wasn’t necessary since MNT plans to leave four nights of its recently revamped schedule intact next season, according to Meidel.

After arriving in January, Meidel did away with all but two nights of telenovelas beginning in March. International Fight League’s IFL Battleground mixed martial arts bouts have boosted household ratings, as well as young men and women demos, on Mondays and Saturdays (where reruns air). MNT has also done better with theatrical movies airing on Thursdays and Fridays

Meidel intends to install more reality on the remaining two nights, starting with Tuesdays in the fall and Wednesdays when the remaining two telenovelas end in the fourth quarter. MNT is in discussions with reality producers such as Mark Burnett, John Langley and Bruce Nash.

After announcing in April that it would install a number of specials, including many with scantily clad women, during the May sweeps (starting early with tonight’s Hawaiian Tropic International Beauty Pageant and Ujena Bikini Jam), Meidel says it would have been “confusing” to return to telenovelas in June—especially after ad buyers have already expressed their satisfaction with the changes.

“We made the decision to do it now rather than wait to fall,” he says.

MNT will announce its  new reality projects for June within the next two weeks.